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What is every man’s right?

The Right of Public Access

We rely on the Right of Public Access whenever we go out in the countryside – whether it is to take a walk, go kayaking, climb a mountain or just sit down on a rock to think. The Right of Public Access is a unique institution. It gives us all the freedom to roam the countryside. But we must also take care of nature and wildlife, and we must show consideration for landowners and for other people enjoying the countryside. In other words: Don’t disturb – don’t destroy!

What is the Right of Public Access?

The Right of Public Access is a unique right to roam freely in the countryside. It is summed up in the phrase ‘Don’t disturb – Don’t destroy.’ It is what makes possible many opportunities for outdoor recreation.

What is allowed?

Organised outdoor recreation

It is the Right of Public Access which makes adventure tourism and other forms of organised outdoor recreation possible.

Hiking and skiing

You can walk or ski pretty much anywhere in the countryside. The exceptions are to ensure that you do not disturb and do not destroy


You may cycle across country and on private roads. However, be sure not to ride across the grounds of a house, on cultivated land or on ground that is easily damaged.

Horse riding

You can ride freely in the countryside, as horse riding is included in the Right of Public Access. But choose your path carefully and avoid soft ground to prevent damage.

Hunting and fishing

The Right of Public Access does not cover hunting or fishing. However, it does affect them in important ways, since hunting and fishing are popular leisure activities.

Picking flowers, berries, mushrooms, etc.

You are free to pick flowers, berries and mushrooms in the countryside. But keep in mind that some plants are protected, meaning that they must not be picked.


Dogs are of course welcome in the countryside. However, dog owners must observe strict rules in order to protect wildlife.

Lighting fires

You may light a fire in the country if conditions are safe. But while a campfire adds to the outdoor ambience, it is a cause of concern to landowners.

Camping – tents

You may pitch your tent for a night or two in the countryside as long as you don’t disturb the landowner or cause damage to nature.

Camping – caravans and motor homes

The basic rule is that on weekdays you may stay for up to 24 hours in lay-bys and sign-posted parking areas along public roads. On weekends and public holidays you may stay until the next weekday.

Swimming, boating, and driving on ice

The Right of Public Access applies both on land and water. You can swim, sail almost anywhere, moor your boat and spend a night or two on board.

Fences and signs

Landowners are not allowed to put up fences to keep people off land that is subject to the Right of Public Access.

Private roads

Private roads are most important for outdoor recreation and for our ability to actually make use of the Right of Public Access. There are some things that must be must be keept in mind when out walking, camping, climbing, picking flowers or doing something else in the countryside.

The Right of Public Access in protected areas

In protected areas such as national parks and nature reserves there are special rules designed to protect valuable natural and cultural features. Some rules restrict the Right of Public Access, others expand it.

No, this is not made up. Read more here